We made it to New York.
I am still a little irritated by the two teenage girls I am traveling with, but it’s getting better. I think, because being in the City just cheers me up, period. Although, it is hot and muggy and you can smell the garbage.
The bus ride was surprisingly easy, fast, and economical. I did a search for “cheap chinatown bus nyc washington dc” and I landed at an interesting site called gotobus.com, which sorts the dozens of different bus lines spawned from the original cheap buses that ran from Chinatown, NY to Chinatown, DC. In the end, I was only interested in two bus lines: Vamoose (heard of them) and Washington Deluxe (my mom says they’re good) and both had regular daily buses to NYC and cost between $20-$25 one-way. I spend more than that in one trip to Starbuck’s these days (not that I ever go to Starbuck’s).
I reserved and paid online last night. I choose Vamoose because they had Arlington and Bethesda pick-up spots. We showed up 30 minutes in advance and the bus arrived promptly five minutes before departure. There was a head count and we were off. With one fifteen minute rest stop we arrived at Penn Station (conveniently only four blocks from my friend’s office) only four hours.
We actually could’ve ridden for free, because the only people who checked our “tickets” were two harried men, Hasidic Jews, who jumped on just as we arrived at Penn Station. They began collecting money quickly and efficiently; when I explained I had paid online, and offered to show ID, the one man just brusquely waved me off and told me to bring a print-out the next time.
The only downside of riding the cheap bus was that the bus driver occasionally was talking on his cell phone while driving on the New Jersy Turnpike – but would that be any different on a more expensive bus?
I think the bus is the way to go from now on.